Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vegas Vacay, Here I Come

I'm busy scrambling to get everything pulled together for my trip to Vegas tomorrow, but I didn't want to leave you guys hanging all day. So here's one of my favorite vacation songs of all time.

And another, um, interpretation of the same song.


OH. MY. GODS. (now in paperback!)
Get your goddess on. Join the Ning!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Animal Kingdom Stories Continue...

Steph got us talking about accidental roadkill last week, and many of us had stories about how we’d unfortunately taken ended some lives in the animal kingdom.

Well, today I’ve got a story about how one of them came to my rescue.

It was Saturday morning, and I'd decided to take a walk because I’m trying to tone up to look fairly decent in my gown for the Rita awards next month. I slapped on my headphones and set off. Early on, I noticed an unusual number of black crows flying around, scavenging, and then one with a nice hunk of bagel. Since I talk to random animals all the time--but don’t worry about me too much for they don’t respond--I applauded him for his breakfast “score,” as I moved on.

A half-hour later, I'm on a sidewalk two miles away, bopping to my CD (because I a firm believer in walking as if nobody’s looking), when out of nowhere, a black crow dive-bombs the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street ahead of me.

Suddenly a six foot plus rattlesnake jackrabbits up and across the sidewalk, running for HIS life. Where it had been, I guess, sunning. And maybe coiled.

Maybe I should add here that I have a screaming, out-of-my-mind snake phobia. To the extent that back in college, I could not enter a certain classroom building because its first floor corridor was lined with CAGED snakes. And which is why the only snake that appears in this post is cartoon and "almost" cute.

When I regain consciousness (miraculously I am still breathing and somehow across the street), I realize that had that crow not shown up, I would have dance-walked right up to that rattlesnake, most likely startling the thing.

Arg, sputter, gasp.

And because I am a total drama queen, newspaper headlines started screaming in my head:






Any other headline ideas? Or have a near-miss yourself in the wild?


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie, 2009 Rita Finalist
The ABC's of Kissing Boys, 2009 YALSA Nominee
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Saturday!!!

Today is a gorgeous, sunny Saturday in the Emerald City (Seattle). My big plans today are working out, then heading to a great little restaurant for happy hour (Earl Grey Ice Cream sandwiches & goumet toast)

What are your plans?

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions

Dona Sarkar-Mishra

Friday, June 26, 2009


It's official, I'm a murderer. I suppose I should backtrack a bit and explain. I should also tell you that I live in the middle of a cornfield. Squirrels, rabbits, deer, ducks, raccoons, opossums (why is there an o?) and birds of all kinds are a plenty in my hometown. So I was innocently heading to my credit union with my six-year-old (who has a memory like Rainman) when a bird flew right into my windshield. The impact was a sickening crunch and I cringed, waiting for a shower of feathers to cascade onto my hood. But there was nothing so I was relieved and told myself the blackbird would be fine after a few extra-strength Excedrin.

This is where my son comes in. He had the forethought to glance behind us (not an easy feat considering the medieval car seat I make him wear out of fear of idiots texting while driving but that's a whole other blog post). "You killed that bird," he exclaims. I peek in the rear view mirror, not excited about witnessing my destruction, and verify that there is indeed one very dead blackbird in the middle of the road. Apparently he had gotten a bit airborne from the impact and it had taken a moment for him to come back to earth.

Of course my son felt the need to tell everyone we came into contact with for the next twenty-four hours that I killed a bird. I would pipe up with, "But I had the right of way!" I still feel quite terrible about it and would surely send a basket of condolence worms if only I knew his families address.

"We shall avenge our brother by crapping on Stephanie's Jeep anytime she drives anywhere for the rest of her life!"

Have you ever hit an animal and felt incredibly guilty about it?




Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Tis the Season


For the last few weeks, tons of kids have been going through commencements. Last weekend, out to dinner with friends, we ran into a huge graduation party at a cool Middle Eastern restaurant, where the families were celebrating with a feast and belly dancers. There’s just so much to be proud of when you achieve your academic goals – or for some, a sense of relief that you made it and will walk with your classmates.

Congratulations to all you guys who are or have someone in your family graduating!

Today’s high school graduates (and college, too) are coming out of school at a crazy time in our collective history. Things are so different for you guys – social networking has boomed, the economy has tanked, all over the world things are in upheaval. Things are very uncertain, and yet I find that most graduating kids I’ve talked to are very hopeful about the future.

Remember that Baz Luhrman song, “Everyone’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” that digested all the best parts of a graduation speech? It was set to a great beat and was full of advice like: depend on yourself, dance in your living room, don’t think that you’re ugly, value your youth. I think my piece of advice would be something like, “be yourself,” which everyone hears but few can do.

What advice would you give graduates if you were a commencement speaker this year?


Never Cry Werewolf ~ HarperTeen Sept. 2009
The Clearing~ HMH April 2010

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On the Topic of Winners

After plugging the comments into randomizer.org, the winner of a top secret first five pages of FORGIVE MY FINS is:
Chick Lit Teens
Email me at tlc@teralynnchilds.com so I can send you the file (as soon as I finish my copyedits)!


OH. MY. GODS. (now in paperback!)
Get your goddess on. Join the Ning!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On the Topic of Covers

Hi there, Buzzies. Last night, Editor Fabu sent me a mockup of the FORGIVE MY FINS cover. And let me tell you, it's purdy! The girl looks exactly like Lily. I'm not at liberty to share yet, but I want your opinions on covers in general. What are some of your all-time favorite YA covers (particularly paranormal/fantasy ones)?

Name your faves and I'll choose one winner to receive an ultra top secret first five pages of FORGIVE MY FINS. (This won't even be on my website for months!) Comment away.


OH. MY. GODS. (now in paperback!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Close of a Wonderful Week!

We really enjoyed our author interview week, where we had fabulous guests, numerous visitors (new and regular), lots of fun chat, and general merriment. And now it’s time for the closing ceremony, the announcing of the giveaway winners.

They are as follows:

A signed, first edition copy of Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde goes to...


Diana, please e-mail Tina at admin@tinaferraro.com with contact information.

* * *

The John Green Collection (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Town) goes to...


Anne, please e-mail Tera at tlc@teralynnchilds.com with contact information.

* * *

The Lois Lowry book (winner’s choice) goes to...


Summer, please e-mail Marley at marley.h.gibson@gmail.com with contact information.

* * *

A copy of Serena Robar’s Giving Up the V goes to...


Erica, please e-mail Heather at heather@heatherdavisbooks.com with contact information.

* * *

Kieran Scott’s book, Geek Magnet, goes to...


A copy of I Was A Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott goes to...


Kieran Scott’s Brunettes Strike Back goes to...


A copy of Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love by Kieran Scott goes to...


Cara, Mena, Meredith and Breanna, please e-mail Steph at Stephanie@stephaniehale.com.

* * *

A winner’s choice of Austenland or Rapunzel’s Revenge goes to...


Sydney, please e-mail Tina at admin@tinaferraro.com with contact information.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks again to our wonderful guests and commenters!


Tina Ferraro
How to Hook a Hottie, 2009 Rita Finalist
The ABC's of Kissing Boys, 2009 YALSA Nominee
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hello to Shannon Hale...

The first time I heard the name “Shannon Hale” was from my daughter. She was in elementary school, and in an awkward reading stage where her advanced ability made her ready for books far above her age and experience. So when she announced she’d discovered a wonderful new author, Shannon Hale, who wrote books she wanted to read, we jumped into the car to go buy her books.

We talked to the bookseller who assured me that her books were exciting and enthralling, and also appropriate for younger readers. We scooped them up, and to this day, they sit on my daughter's keeper shelf!

Some years later, my literary agent, Nadia Cornier, told me she was handling Shannon’s adult novel, Austenland. Again, I zoomed to the bookstore. I found it and took it on a weekend outing. In fact, whenever I think of that weekend now, what I remember is Austenland, and how I didn’t want to put it down...

So I am delighted to chat today with New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale, whose books clearly delight readers of all ages!

Tina: Hello, Shannon. I hear you’ve been writing stories since elementary school (like I have, and many other of us Buzz Girl authors). Any embarrassing early works you care to own up to?

Shannon: What do you mean embarrassing? Clearly I was a master writer from the beginning!

Tina: Really--what was I thinking?!? Well, skip ahead a few years, and you sold your first book, The Goose Girl . Where were you and what were you doing when you first got the news?

Shannon: I was at home doing yoga. The company I worked for had laid everyone off the month before and I was unemployed. My agent called and let me know she had a message from an editor at Bloomsbury saying that she wanted to make an offer. I truly could not eat or sleep for two days. Except the editor didn't get back to us again for TWO WEEKS, so for two weeks I was on a razor's edge, waiting to hear if it was real or not!

Tina: Yeah, those waits can feel like FOREVER. Hey...recently you got involved in a fantastic charitable event called Project Book Babe, in which you and several other Big Name Young Adult Authors banded together to help raise funds for Arizona bookseller and friend, Faith Hochhlater, in her battle against breast cancer. Having met Faith on two occasions and been a recipient of her enthusiasm and generosity, I applaud you and the others for your efforts in helping her.

Can you tell us a behind-the-scenes story about the event?

Shannon: So...I was the emcee. I'd introduced all ten of the authors and then we were setting up the tables, microphones, getting ready for the panel. Then Jon Lewis noticed that no one was sitting in one of the places and he said, "DId you forget someone?" I looked at my sheet--no, I was sure I'd gotten everyone. Then he pointed to the name tag--Stephenie Meyer. Yeah, I'd truly forgotten her. I could not stop laughing. She was backstage and couldn't hear what was going on, and when she found out later what had happened, she thought it was hysterical.

That event was so fun. I was like a kid in a candy store. Everyone was so game! I said, "Hey, do some of you want to do a lip sync and dance to an Aretha Franklin song for me?" And several people said, "Sure!" Then I said, "Hey Dean Lorey, will you put on Stephenie's prom dress and model it for the audience?" and he said, "Sure!" Pure heaven.

In the above picture taken after the event, Faith is in the center (blonde), and I imagine you can all find Shannon (in orange) and Stephenie (behind Faith), as well as Janette Rallison (to Stephanie's left), who has been profiled here at the Buzz Girls blog, as well.

Tina: I have to ask about your blogsite name, which is squeetus. Is there a story behind the name Squeetus?

Shannon: My husband rarely calls our family members by our names. We all have multiple nicknames. The formal version of one of my nicknames (squeeter pig) is apparently Squeetus. Truly, I am as mystified as you.

Tina: LOL. He sounds like a lot of fun! And why don’t you tell us about the graphic novel, Rapunzel’s Revenge, that the two of you co-wrote?

Shannon: It's a rip-roarin', rootin' tootin' adventure! I love collaborating with my husband. I love involving him in my books, making this more of a family thing than a me-thing. And I regularly get fan mail that makes me cry, from parents who tell me, "My child never read a book in her/his life until Rapunzel's Revenge." Once they read this book, they get more confidence and go on to read other books. It's unbelievably gratifying.

Tina: Sounds terrific...so terrific, in fact, we’re going to give a copy of Rapunzel's Revenge --or-- Austenland (winner's choice) to one lucky commenter! To enter, we’re asking our readers to leave a comment below telling us one of their nicknames--and feel free to embarrass yourself!

Thank you, Shannon, it’s be a real joy having you here!


Tina Ferraro
The ABC's of Kissing Boys - Nominee, YALSA Best Teen Book
How to Hook a Hottie - 2009 Rita Finalist
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Fabulous Kieran Scott!

I'm so honored to be able to interview this triple threat of an author (super-sweet, extremely prolific, and totally gorgeous)! For those of you who are currently residing under a rock and don't know who Kieran is, let me give you a brief introduction. Kieran is the author of over 100 books including, JINGLE BOY, GEEK MAGNET, and the NON-BLONDE CHEERLEADER Series. She also pens the extremely popular Private and Privilege series and other titles under the pseudonym Kate Brian. Oh yeah, she also writes books under the pseudonym Emma Harrison (Snow Queens coming out Jan 2010, don't you love that title?). I forgot to ask her if she feels the need to wear a name tag each day to remember who she is!

I wanted to find out more about the woman behind all those names so I threw some fun questions.

Steph: When did you start writing and how did you get your start?

Kieran: I wrote one half of a YA romance novel when I was a sophomore in high school. Shockingly the lead female was based on me and the lead male was based on this senior football player/photographer I was in love with. I think I got bored with it right around the time he asked one of my friends to the prom . . . . But oh, my actual career? Sorry. Right. I started out as an editor and one of my editor friends needed writers for a YA romance series she was working on. I wrote an outline and two sample chapters and got the job. The book was called Trust Me and it came out in on my 24th birthday, which was pretty cool. The rest is history.
(Kieran's extremely cool 24th birthday present)
Steph: Can you explain a little bit to our readers about the difference between writing a novel under your own name and writing under a pseudonym for a book packaging company?

Kieran: When I write a novel under my own name, it’s truly mine. My idea, my story, all me from start to finish (with some very insightful comments by my very insightful agent and editor). Writing for a book packager is a bit more like writing for TV. Because the books come out so fast, I plot them out with my editors and we all know where we’re going at least four books ahead of time. I do all the actual writing of the novels, but there’s a lot more help in the plotting/planning stages.

Steph: How many books have you written in total?

Kieran: Honestly, I stopped counting at a hundred. I’ve done a lot of ghost writing, quiz books, TV tie-in novels and biographies under several different names. These days, though, it’s just Kieran Scott, Kate Brian and Emma Harrison. Which is still a lot, I guess!
(That means that Kieran writes 10+ books a year! I'm fairly certain she subsists on Red Bull.)

Steph: Which cover is your favorite?

Kieran: I’ve always liked the Jingle Boy cover, which is funny since it’s probably my least-known novel. I also like the original hardcover art for A Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love. Annisa jumping against an open sky. So cute!

(Kieran has some of the most adorable covers!)

Steph:Which of your characters do you feel mirrors you the most?
Kieran: KJ Miller of Geek Magnet is my most personal character. I had an alcoholic father just like she does and I felt trapped by my friends and family and their perception of me when I was in school. But luckily, like KJ, I found some people who took the time to understand me and support me and make me laugh. On some days I have a bit of Reed Brennan’s sarcastic outlook. On others I have Annisa Gobrowski’s positivity. Depends, probably, on how much sleep I’ve gotten the night before.

Steph: What author would YOU go completely fan-girl over?

Kieran: I would probably dissolve into a puddle if I met Sophie Kinsella or Maeve Binchy or Barbara Kingsolver. And I actually did drool a bit when I met Michael Chabon. Also, I think I scared Megan McCafferty when we first met. I believe the quote was. “I worship your writing!” Does that even make sense?

Steph: Did you attend a private school like Easton(the private school in the Private series)?

Kieran: No. Public school girl all the way. Although, like Reed, I was on the lower income side at a very high income school. My friends drove BMWs and had summer houses and ski houses and boats and horses. I had a Schwinn ten speed and two summer jobs at a time.

Steph: How were your summers as a teen spent?

Kieran: See above. :)I worked as a camp counselor, in a dry cleaner, at a Haagen Dazs, at a movie theater . . . And I did get to go to the beach a lot because I had friends with shore houses. (See above.) I remember having lots of sunburns and singing really loudly with the radio in the car. And pool parties. People were always having pool parties. Wow. I didn’t realize until this moment how much I miss pool parties . . . .
(I'll take two hundred scoops of chocolate peanut butter, please.)
Steph: Who is your biggest celebrity crush?

Kieran: Right now it’s definitely Taylor Kitsch aka Tim Riggins of Friday Night Lights. Chris Pine and James Marsden come in a close second and third. Huge crushes of the past include Michael Vartan, Taye Diggs, Matthew McConnaughey, Michael Hutchence and River Phoenix.

(James, Taylor, and Chris. Kieran also has exceptional taste!)

Steph: You are stranded on a desert island. What CD, DVD, candy, drink, food and comfort item do you take?

Kieran: CD: When The Pawn . . . by Fiona Apple
DVD: While You Were Sleeping. Wait! The Princess Bride. No . . .While You Were Sleeping. Can I have two?
CANDY: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
DRINK: Trader Joe’s Mango Lemonade
FOOD: Mom’s spaghetti and meat sauce
COMFORT ITEM: My husband? Okay, okay, if I can’t take a human . . . my huge Winnie the Pooh. He can be a pillow and give a good hug.
(Everybody needs a Pooh)
Steph: Are you an only child or do you have siblings? Do you think this affected your writing?

Kieran: I have an older brother and a younger sister. Both have definitely inspired characters in my novels, but I won’t tell you who, because they’d probably kill me. My older brother had a lot more freedom than me because he was older and a boy, and my younger sister got a lot more stuff than I did because she was the baby. Consequently, I think I heard the word “no” more than either of them did, which made me both A) bitter and B) responsible. The bitterness informs some of my writing. The responsibility helps me get stuff done!

Steph: Fictional Character Death Match
Noelle Lange vs. Blair Waldorf
Who is your money on?

Kieran: Are you kidding? Noelle would kick Blair’s butt! The girl tied one character to a pole and took out another with a lacrosse stick. Plus she’s an accomplished athlete, schemer AND know-it-all, whereas Blair only has the schemer part down. Now if they were competing in some kind of shopping event, I may have to put my money on Blair.

Steph: Do you ever get recognized in public? And if so, have you ever had any crazy fan moments?

Kieran: Only once was I recognized, and it was at BEA, so people were on the lookout. And once, at a signing, I had a girl threaten to kill herself if I didn’t bring Thomas Pearson back. There was a second there when I thought she was serious and that freaked me out more than a bit. (Yikes!)
Steph: What would you do if you weren’t an author?

Kieran: I’d probably teach English. That’s what I always thought I’d end up doing. Actually, I used to think I’d write for magazines, but I tried it and it was not for me. I’d rather make stuff up than report facts. I also love to bake and cook, so I might go to culinary school and give a career in food a whirl. Ooh! Or maybe I could be a pilates instructor! Wait. I’m having too much fun with this question. Next!
(Rachael better pray that Kieran sticks with writing or she could be in trouble!)

Steph: You can trade places with a celebrity for a week. Who would you pick?

Kieran: I would LOVE to know what Oprah Winfrey’s life is actually like. Or Michelle Obama’s. But I would also love to be someone really movie-star glamorous and cool like Kate Winslet or Cameron Diaz.

(Hmmm...#2 on the Forbes Celebrity Power List or make out with Jason Patric for money?? I would actually have a hard time deciding. )

Steph: Do you wish that some of today’s technology had been available when you were a teen?

Kieran: I wish I’d had access to the internet when writing papers, but I’m glad I didn’t have texting and facebook and twitter and all that because I never would have gotten anything else done.

Steph: Which of your books would you most like to see made into a movie and who would you cast as the main characters?

Kieran: Definitely I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader. It’s just so near and dear to my heart and I think the characters and action would translate so well on screen. Demi Lovato would be a perfect Annisa and I’m thinking Cody Linley for Daniel.

(Perfect casting!)

I want to thank Kieran for being an honorary bee today! If you want to find out more about Kieran, you can check her out here, http://www.myspace.com/kieranscott and here, http://www.myspace.com/katebrian. I also want to thank our readers by giving away four of Kieran's books, Geek Magnet, I Was A Non-Blonde Cheerleader, Brunettes Strike Back, and A Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love. To be entered, just leave a comment telling us if you are a non-blonde cheerleader, a geek magnet, a boycotter of all things Christmas, or none of the above!


Introducing... Serena Robar!

~ Author Interview Week Continues on the Buzz Blog ~

In case you're just joining us, each day we are interviewing a different YA author we admire -- and giving away a copy of their books! You can enter to win by leaving a comment after you read the post.

We'll announce the winners at the end of the week -- and be sure to check back each day to see who is new on the blog. There are big, big names ahead, people. And, some wonderful authors who deserve to be big names. Like today's fab author, Serena Robar.

Serena is the author of the popular Berkeley JAM series, Braced 2 Bite -- and is back with a new book called Giving Up the V.
First Serena, tell us a little about your new book:

Spencer Davis is nowhere ready to give up the V, but when she turns sixteen her forward thinking mother takes her to the doctor and puts her on the pill. Now Spencer’s friend are obsessed with her doing it and when the new guy Ben arrives and takes an interest in her, she begins to wonder if he is V worthy.

What compelled you to write a book on such a controversial (yet necessary) topic? Did you have any reservations about
submitting the book to publishers?

Sometimes stories are given to you by the writing gods. Giving Up the V was one of those stories. I was sitting at the doctor’s office for my yearly female exam when one of the doctors (a harried fifty-something man) asked the young receptionist if giving up the V meant what he thought it did. He explained to the receptionist (and me too, but he didn’t know it. I was blatantly eavesdropping) that his last patient was a teen girl whose mother brought her in to get on the pill. The girl was annoyed and complained that she wasn’t ready to give up the V yet, so why did she have to be there? I remember pulling out my notebook (all writers carry one of these for just this sort of occasion) and wrote down the title and premise. The premise came practically gift wrapped. All I had to do was write the story.

As for having any reservations about the subject matter, no-not at all. If anything this book is a weird amalgam of sweet and outrageous, I was worried the publisher might tell me to choose one or the other, but they loved the mixture. Maybe that’s what the creator of Reese’s feared? Is it chocolate or is it peanut butter? Pick a side! Luckily they were two great tastes that taste great together. Just like Giving Up the V.

How did your own experiences as a teen navigating sex and romance influence you in writing Giving up the V?

Hah, that’s a therapy couch question if I ever heard one. When I was in elementary school my mom gave my sister and I a book entitled “Where did I come from?” That book and my teen sex talk which I loosely based on a scene in the book, where Spencer’s mom (a free spirit) talks about her first sex talk with Spencer’s grandmother (conservative Catholic). It boiled down to a single sentence. “Do it before you’re married and you’ll go straight to hell”. That was the extent of my sexual education on the home front. Though my mother would vehemently deny it.

How could I really talk to my mother about sex if her stance on the subject was ‘it’s forbidden’? I still had feelings, hormones, questions, concerns and let’s face it, I didn’t share her core belief system so motivating me with fear of hell wasn’t going to stop me. An open dialogue about sexual consequences, such as STD’s, unplanned pregnancy, etc would have been a much more effective. So instead of taking her advice, I did what most kids do, I discussed sex with my peers and formed my opinions and decisions based on those conversations.

I think the most surprising thing I took away from my own teen years was all the talk and discussion about the act itself but not much mention of how you feel afterward. The onslaught of emotions; vulnerability, insecurity, etc. I was completely unprepared for that side of it. I really wished I would have had someone with more life experience to talk to about that part.

What do you hope readers will take away from Giving Up the V?

Giving Up the V
is a very light and funny look at peer pressure, family and growing up. I remember reading all the Judy Blume books when I was a kid. Are you There God, It’s me Margaret and Forever were required reading. We all talked about it because we totally connected with the characters and situations in the books. I think Giving up the V is like that. If Judd Apatow were to re-imagine a Judy Blume novel, that would be Giving Up the V.

Prior to Giving up the V, you wrote a series of vampire books for Berkeley Jam – do you think you’ll return to the paranormal genre someday?

I love paranormal YA’s. World building and creating a mythos with your own take on supernatural elements is what I love to do. However, my last publisher decided to move away from the light, funny YA paranormal and I had to come up with something that was more marketable. A contemporary story seemed like a natural transition and I loved that I got to explore the virginity theme in a coming of age story without distracting from the message with paranormal elements. I will continue to do paranormal if I can find the right publisher but I think I am hooked on writing contemporaries as well.

Did you always want to be a writer? What led you to writing YA fiction?

I used to write short stories and articles for the school paper when I was a teen, but I never considered myself a real writer. My true passion was reading. I loved to read anything and everything I could get my hands on, which was mostly romance since my neighbor belonged to numerous book clubs and she gave my sister and I all the books after reading them.

I knew I was a storyteller at a young age. I was good at it and people seemed to find me entertaining. I’m just glad I could write my stories down in a cohesive and entertaining way. That’s how I became a writer. The biggest struggle creative people have is finding the right medium. A storyteller can be a filmmaker, artist, game developer, songwriter, etc. Once you find an outlet for your creativity, it’s easier to make sense of where you fit in the world. I know tons of people (myself included) who pondered the question “What’s my role in the universe?” I’m just gratefully to have figured it out.

My voice lends naturally to YA fiction. I think teen fiction has great emotional potential because everything is new, big and all consuming. The only time in life when you are ruled by baser instincts and struggling to make some sense out of the chemical onslaught puberty jettisons into the body. It’s where your sense of self is first tested and character is molded. It’s a challenging and exciting genre to write in. I love it.

What are you working on next? Will there be a sequel to V?

I originally pitched GUTV as a series, but Simon pulse wanted a stand-alone story. I like Alyssa’s character and her story was just starting to heat up at the end of GUTV. Here is a girl who thought of her virginity as a burden, something to dispose of so she could get on with life. What happens to her and better yet, the boy who takes care of business, after the deed is done? So many story ideas. Maybe I will write that book next. I’m currently working on another paranormal and another funny contemporary romance but no release dates I can share yet. Will keep you posted as soon as I can spill the beans.

What is one tip you would give teens who would like to write?

Writing is a talent that will erode over time if you don’t exercise it. Write every day. Break things down into manageable pieces so writing daily doesn’t seem overwhelming. Start a blog. Observe life and write posts on your musings. What’s your take on subjects? A writer writes. Always. Without fail. Write what you love, hone your craft and someday your books will be in my To Be Read pile.

Anything else you’d like to say to our Books, Boys, Buzz readers?

Yeah! For the entire month of June I’m giving it away for free (it’s the only time momma would approve). Sign up for my newsletter and you could win a book a day, every day. All month long.

All this week you can win Books, Boys, Buzz author’s books with a big basket giveaway of their backlist on Saturday, June 20, 2009. Don’t be shy. You know you want to. http://www.serenarobar.com/

Thanks again to Serena for the interview and her generous giveaways! Right here on the Buzz Blog you can win a copy of Serena's new book just by answering this question:

Have you ever had an awkward moment where your parent(s) tried to explain the birds and the bees to you?


Never Cry Werewolf - HarperTeen Sept '09
The Clearing - Harcourt Houghton Mifflin April '10

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An interview with Lois Lowry

It is my great privilege and honor to have been able to interview the amazing Lois Lowry, a fellow Houghton Mifflin Harcourt author, about her amazing career, her characters, and her writing.

First, for those of you not familiar with Lois' books, I ask you..."where have you been?" Lois is famous for her Anastasia Krupnik series that started in 1979 and continues today with more Anastasia books, as well as a spinoff of her brother, Sam. She's also penned the ever-so-charming Gooney Bird series. Lois lives and writes in New England, where she makes her homes in Maine and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Thanks to my fabulous publicity contact at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I was able to snatch a few minutes of Lois' time to ask her some questions.

Marley: Thanks so much for joining us here at Books, Boys, Buzz, Lois! We appreciate your taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for our readers. My first question in, you've been writing for many years now and have created some amazing characters with Anastasia and her brother Sam, the Gooney Birds, not to mention all of your single title books. What do you think it is about your writing...your storytelling...that resonates so well with readers that keeps them coming back for more?

Lois Lowry: I’m not sure I have a good answer to that. I think I’m pretty adept at getting into the head and heart of a character and writing through his/her sensibilities (I don’t mean, necessarily, writing in the first person, although that is true sometimes) and so the character, to the reader, seems real and believable---even when exaggerated, as Gooney Bird, for example. I think I’m good at assessing and choosing detail, and that I have a good sense of the fluency and flow of language. And I avoid like the plague trying to hook into any glib, contemporary vernacular. Most of these are subliminal things but they do affect a reader and a reader‘s reaction.

Marley: That's excellent. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your journey to publication? What was your original inspiration to start writing?

Lois Lowry: Nothing unusual here. I majored in writing and in literature in college. Writing had always been my goal. I married young, had children young, so I postponed professional writing until the kids were in school, then began working as a journalist and photographer. Fiction was always my first love but it was (probably still is) much harder to achieve publication of fiction. I did not plan to write for young people. But when a children’s book editor, having read some adult fiction I’d written, contacted me and asked my to consider writing a YA book...I took her up on it. That resulted in my first book for a young audience---A SUMMER TO DIE---(1977, still in print) and eventually, after other books, I realized I loved the young audience and their response. Gradually I shifted until I began doing kids’ books almost exclusively.

Marley: A SUMMER TO DIE is a phenomenal, timeless book. You write a lot about your own personal experiences, weaving in deep and believable emotions. How is it for you when you're writing such personal stories? How do you manage the emotions? How do you answer readers' questions when they're seeded in stories related to your own life?

Lois Lowry: I’ve always felt that the best way to write a story is as if you are writing a letter to a friend. The reader, actually, is a friend...just one you haven’t met in person. And so you tell that friend your story, and you tell it with the kind of affection, intimacy, and honesty that a friend deserves. It’s true that some of my fiction has arisen from my own experience. But I treat “real” fiction the same way---it, too, becomes a true story to me. I don’t “manage” emotions; I let them affect the telling. And I try to do so with honesty. Same with readers’ questions.

Marley: That's a beautiful way to view writing and your stories..."a letter to a friend." I'm sure that's helpful to any aspiring writers out there. Since you have literally your own library of titles, can you tell us which is the "book of your heart" or the one that stands out as your all time favorite and why?

Lois Lowry: I am particularly fond of one called THE SILENT BOY, which is set in the time of my own mother’s childhood, and in the town where she lived, and illustrated by old photographs—several of her as a child. It is not a “true” story, but it has all the elements that appeal to me: the visual element in the old photos, the nostalgia and the carefully-chosen details, quite a complex plot, characters with heartbreaking problems, and some deeply felt themes.

Marley: I can see how that would be a favorite for you. A lot of our readers are fellow writers and/or aspiring writers. Let's ask a question for them like what is your writing "ritual?" Do you play music? Seclude yourself? Go to Starbucks or tuck away in a nook in your home?

Lois Lowry: I have two houses, and I have an office in each house. In summer, I am in Maine, which is much more isolated, so with fewer distractions, and I am able to work better and more productively there where it is quiet and undisturbed. But the rest of the year, in my “real” house, I also work each day, sit at my desk for many hours. Few rituals. No music. No Starbucks. But I do read poetry frequently. It reminds me, lures me back into, the cadence and flow of lyrical language.

Marley: I'm jealous of your getaway in Maine! My getaway is putting on my headphones during my lunch break so I can block out everything else. LOL!! So what can we look forward to in the future from the amazing pen of Lois Lowry?

Lois Lowry: I have a picture book, CROW CALL, coming out in the fall, gorgeously illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. In spring, 2010, a light-hearted playful novel called THE BIRTHDAY BALL, with black-and-white illustrations by my friend Jules Feiffer. A lot of other stuff, including a new Gooney Bird, in the works, but I don’t like talking about things in progress. Superstition, maybe.

Marley: LOL! I certainly understand that! And we appreciate the preview of the books you can talk about. I'm sure our readers here will run out and get them as soon as they hit the shelves. I want to thank you sooooooooo much for hanging out here with us at Books, Boys, Buzz. We all love your books and you're an inspiration to us in our own writing. We wish you much continued success!! Thanks again!

For more information about Lois and her books, please visit her website at http://www.louislowry.com/

Thanks again to Lois! If you'd like to win a copy of your favorite Lois Lowry book, please leave a comment in the comment section and let us know what you think of Lois' interview. You may comment/enter as many times as you'd like.

Marley = )

GHOST HUNTRESS: THE AWAKENING (Available Now! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
GHOST HUNTRESS: THE GUIDANCE (Coming September 2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
GHOST HUNTRESS: THE REASON (Coming May 2010, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
(Coming September 2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
CHRISTMAS MIRACLES (Coming October 2009, St. Martin's Press)
SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Available from Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Available from Puffin Books)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Introducing John Green

When we Buzz Girls decided to do this very special interview week, my first thought was, "John Green!" Some bees might remember John from my Geeky Cute AuthorBoyz post of last year. (He was #1, by the way.) Since I have a huge author crush on him and my editor was the assistant on his first two books, I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to get to know him a little better.

Before we get into the interview, here's some background on John. His first book, Looking for Alaska, won the Michael J. Printz Award (mega-prestigious) along with a bunch of other accolades. Then came An Abundance of Katherines, a Printz honor book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Now, his latest, Paper Towns, is following in those well-awarded footsteps by winning the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for YA lit. Pretty awesome credentials, huh?

Well, on top of all that, John has a huge online following (the Nerdfighters) that began with Brotherhood 2.0, a vlog between John and his brother Hank. Their cleverness and hilarity earned them legions of fans that quickly followed them to the Nerfighters Ning--and made Paper Towns an instant bestseller.

The very best part is that John is genuinely nice, answered all of my questions with his characteristic wit (and uncharacteristic speed), and has proven himself entirely worthy of my author crush.

Now, without further explanation or gushing, John Green.

1. The obligatory author question: What's your process? Do you begin with a premise or a situation or a character? How do you proceed from there?

I begin with characters, although saying that maybe creates the expectation that I sit down and start writing with these wholly formed characters in my mind, which isn't the case. I start with characters, but in the process of writing the first draft, try to understand the people in the book and their stories better. Then I delete most of that first draft in revision. Most of the real writing of my books is done in revision.

2. The other obligatory author question: Describe your workplace. Do you write at home or out in the world? On the computer, longhand, in crayon, or by other means? What do you drink/eat/listen to while writing?

I write on a computer, and I have written on a computer since I was eight and my dad got us an Apple IIe. In a lot of ways, my books are collaborations between the computer and me. (I assume this is true for many writers, but my writing process is so intertwined with the architecture of word processing software--the cutting and pasting and scrolling and searching and replacing--that I literally don't know how to do it any other way.)

Physical location is less significant to me--I often write in various rooms of my house, but sometimes go to coffee shops or write in hotel rooms or airports or wherever I find myself. I don't listen to music while writing, except occasionally.

3. You collect famous last words (and used them in your debut, Printz-and-billions-of-others-award-winning novel, Looking For Alaska). Have any new ones or favorites you'd like to share? Or, if you could pre-script your own last words right now, what would they be?

If I could prescript my last words, I would tell my wife I love her. Hardly memorable, but that's what I'd say. Most of my favorite last words didn't make their way into the book, actually, because I didn't want to overwhelm the novel with last words and make it feel all schticky. The best last words I've come across are those of Emily Dickinson: I must go in. The fog is rising.

4. For An Abundance of Katherines, you had to do some serious, brain-bending, math-related research. What's the most outrageous/hardest/craziest thing you've done in the name of research?

Well, the vast majority of my research involves typing things into a computer. I know that there's no substitute for "being there," but there's also no substitute for detailed satellite maps with topographical overlays. (So, for instance, I had to figure out how to break into Sea World for Paper Towns. It is easy enough just to break into Sea World--I'm not going to comment on whether I did that--but just breaking into Sea World does not give you an actual sense of HOW it happened, only that it happened.) I go to the places I write about, and spend a lot of time there, but other than that, yeah, all my research is inside the Internet. (Yet another way my books would be impossible without computers.)

5. You are single-handedly responsible for the resurrection of the word awesome. Why awesome? Why not rad, amped, killer, or some other slang term from our generation?

I don't even know, and I partially regret it. I've always liked taking a word and playing around with its tense or usage--adjectiving nouns or verbing adjectives or whatever. Awesome was ruined long, long before I got to it--here is this word that manages to capture both the fascination and the terror we feel when we encounter something radically other, the feeling we have when we're on our knees and praying in hope *and* praise *and* fear *and* gratitude. Here is this amazing word, and now we use it to describe...a skateboarding trick. Ideally, we should have let awesome go the way of rad, so that it might one day be returned to its original splendor, but the problem is that for me at least the word still retains the tiniest vestige of its former greatness, and so I just like it.

So when my brother and I started making videoblogs, we used the word a lot because we liked it, and then we started using it as a noun because we both like to play around with usage, and then it just kind of took off with our viewers.

6. If you were in high school today, what fictional character(s) would you want to take to prom and/or eat lunch with?

Huck Finn.

7. If you could require every teen in the country to read three books before graduation, what would they be and why?

My answers are involve the dreaded classics, I'm afraid: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, because it's beautifully written and discusses all the most important things. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger, because more than any other book I've read, it gets to the murderous isolation that accompanies every adolescence. And The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, because love is never any better than the lover.

8. Define irony. (Seriously. I was a theatre major. I'm still trying to figure it out.)

I've always just gone with the definition Ethan Hawke's character uses in the film Reality Bites: Irony is when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning.

9. First there was the blog, then the vlog, and now Twitter and the Ning. Your online presence has been a major contributor to your success--that and phenomenal writing talent, of course. Is that "work" for you, or fun? Do you ever worry that it takes time away from the writing? What's the next big thing in online networking?

I think Twitter is the next big thing in online networking, but it's important to remember that nothing lasts forever in this brave new world. We're always cycling through technologies, because the next one will give us the feeling of interconnectedness we want (which of course the next one never quite does).

I think to be totally honest that my online presence has done more to get my books out to their audience than any talent I might have as a writer. My job is to write the best books I possibly can, but I also want people to read and like those books. So certainly the online work is very much part of my job. Vlogging and blogging are fun a lot of the time, but so is writing. (Working at Steak 'n Shake was also often fun, but it was still work.)

As for whether it takes time away from my writing: I'm sure it does. But I've always had work other than writing--whether it was a day job or Internet-based stuff, so I don't see it as a problem.

10. What can gushing fangirls and nerdfighters everywhere expect from you next? (In the literary sense, not the general, what-I'm-having-for-lunch-tomorrow sense.)

I've got a new book coming out in April of next year that I cowrote with my friend David Levithan called WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON. So look out for that! And of course between now and then, many vlogs and blogs and tweets and status updates.

Oh, I think we'll all be following closely.

Now for the free stuff! I'm giving away a collection of John's books (Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns). Comment below with your answer to Question 6: What fictional character(s) would you want to take to prom and/or eat lunch with? (I'm feeling generous, so I won't outlaw Edward Cullen as a possible answer.)


OH. MY. GODS. (now in paperback!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Welcome, Catherine Ryan Hyde!

I am very pleased to introduce Catherine Ryan Hyde to our Buzz Girl Readers!

I first became acquainted with her through her book,
, which I read some years ago. If the title sounds familiar--and you’re not sure you've read the book--it’s maybe because you saw the movie version starring Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment.

In either case, the theme of the story is as unusual as it is inspiring. It’s about repaying good deeds forward--with the new good deeds delivered to new people. And ever since becoming acquainted with this concept, I can say that whenever I’ve been the recipient of a random act of kindness, I have paid it forward. This is one story that stuck with me.

So let's start there, talking about PAY IT FORWARD.

Tina: I read the idea for PAY IT FORWARD came from your own personal life. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Catherine: Well, this is not the answer you're expecting, but...no. Actually. I can't. You see, it was the constant retelling of that story that drove me to complete burnout. I no longer speak on behalf of the Pay It Forward concept because, after more than nine years of telling the same stories and answering the same questions, I just hit a wall. But I understand people's curiosity, and I know they still want to know (and, as many times as I've told the story, there are those who still haven't heard it). So here's what I did. I edited down a nice little 5- or 6-minute film of me telling the story. Anyone can view it on my website. Here is the link and there are a couple other Pay-It-Forward related videos out there that people might like.

Tina: You're right, I didn’t expect that answer, but I sure liked it! Now, did you have anything to do with the film, work on the screenplay, get to go to the set?

Catherine: I'm lucky they let me READ the screenplay. I actually got a copy direct from the screenwriter, Leslie Dixon. Because she took a liking to me for some crazy reason. Nowhere in the contract does it say I even get to read it.

I did get to go to the set one day. A bit late in the filming, when it was clear that I was one of those authors who "gets it." You know. That I knew I wasn't coming to the set as a consultant or anything. But one of the producers asked me if I wanted to visit for a day and meet Kevin Spacey. Uh. (Duh.) Yeah.

Tina: Okay, now at the risk of sounding like a total rock-and-roll fangirl, Jon Bon Jovi was in the movie, too. Did you get to meet him?

Catherine: I did meet him. He was wearing a tooled leather belt with the name Ricky (his character) carved into it. It was one of those weird moments when the story I'd created seemed to have come to life in a way I could barely comprehend. Years later, I think about 2006, I got an email from my Doubleday publisher, and she said Jon Bon Jovi had been in her office (I think she was going to publish his autobiography at that time) and that my name had come up. I guess he'd said he admired my work. Of course, I was completely blown away. “Oh, yeah, Jon Bon Jovi and I were just talking about you the other day.” Sure, that's my life. Not.

Tina: Jumping ahead to your YA latest novel, THE DAY I KILLED JAMES. What we can expect from your characters?

Catherine: Theresa is an eighteen-year-old girl who blames herself for the suicide of a young man who loved her. She didn't hurt him with malice aforethought, but she did hurt him. On the same night he drove his motorcycle off a cliff. So you can expect her to wither under the burden of her own crushing guilt. And to run away from everything she thinks of as comprising herself. And to try never to let anybody close enough to get hurt again. But since she's one of my characters, you can expect her to climb her way out of that self-made prison (one of my characters in one of my unpublished novels once remarked that a prison is a prison regardless of its builder). She does this with the help of an 11-year-old girl who sticks to her like a piece of gum on the bottom of her shoe, but who ultimately helps her turn around them both around.

Tina: What's up next? Do you have another project in the works?

Catherine: I always have another project in the works. Except when I have two or three.

This summer Knopf will release my next YA book, Diary of a Witness. It's slightly different, in that it involves two teenage boy characters. Our protagonist, Ernie, (who is more than 100 pounds overweight) is an outcast, and so is his best (and only) friend Will. But Ernie has a mom who, though a bit hysterical, loves him. He also has his Uncle Max as a leveling figure. But Will's home life is falling apart and so is he, and he is about to take matters into his own hands regarding the popular jocks who torment them daily. And poor Ernie may be the only one who can prevent disaster.

I also have a new adult novel that is not yet under contract here in the US, but which is soon to be released by Transworld, my UK publisher (things are actually much better for my career over there). I hope that I will soon be able to say it has a US publisher as well.

And I'm very pleased to announce my newest forthcoming YA, Jumpstart the World, about a teenage girl who falls in love with her older next door neighbor before realizing he is transgender (female to male in transition). It's tentatively slated for Fall 2010 from Knopf.

I have another new YA on my editor's desk right now, waiting to be read. But it's too early to spill the beans about that.

Tina: Wonderful! Last up, I want to mention that one of our Buzz Girls, Marley Gibson, just took up scuba diving at the age of 42. I know you’re an avid kayaker. Is this something you’ve done most of your life or something you picked up as an adult?

Catherine: As a matter of fact, yes, I picked it up as an adult. I began kayaking in '04. And I began aggressive peak hiking in about '02. When I was young I pretty much failed gym. So you really can come from behind. It's never too late unless you decide it is and believe it.

Tina: I couldn’t agree more!

Thanks to the fascinating Catherine Ryan Hyde for visiting with us today, and I recommend all our readers check out her books! In fact, one lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to receive a signed first edition of PAY IT FORWARD, so leave a comment to be entered!

Winners of all our week's giveaways will be posted at week's end!


How to Hook a Hottie, 2009 Rita Finalist
The ABC's of Kissing Boys
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress

Sunday, June 14, 2009

WINNERS!!! and Something Very Exciting

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contests all week long. Here's the list of winners (in Monday through Saturday order, so there's no confusion):
Kate Sutton
What a Girl Reads
Please contact me via email (tlc@teralynnchilds.com) with your mailing info. Congrats!

And now, it is my exceptional pleasure to give you the details on one of the coolest things we've ever done here on the Buzz Blog. For almost three years(!) you've tuned in to read about us Buzz Girls and our books and some of our happy/sad/wacky/inspiring/terrifying experiences. Well, this week we're changing it up. This week we're going to introduce you to some other authors.

Over the next few days, each Buzz Girl will be posting an interview they conducted with an author they admire, but whom they might not know very well. Let me tell you, Buzzies, we've got some big fish lined up for your enjoyment. (I'm not spilling the beans, but let me just say that my interviewee is made of awesome!)

Plus, not only will you get to read about these amazing authors, but you'll also get a chance to win one or more of their books! (Yay, free books!)

So, be sure to check back every day, because this is one week you will not want to miss!


OH. MY. GODS. (now in paperback!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Happy Saturday friends!

This week we're celebrating the launch of Tera Lynn Childs' second novel GODDESS BOOTCAMP! I know you want to win your VERY OWN copy, so stay tuned as to how to win!

Here is the AMAZING cover to taunt your tastebuds a bit!

I really really wanted to go to camp as a kid. I read the Babysitters Club Summer Vacation SUPER special and I was bound and determined to go to a camp, live in cabins, make lanyards (even though I didn't know what those were) and get a makeover. I re-read this book at least 10 times and begged and pleaded with my parents to send me.

Did not happen. My parents were too paranoid to send me away somewhere, so they agreed on the next best thing: Day Camp!

I got to attend a really fun artsy day camp near my house for the entire summer. We got to pick things to "specialize" in. I picked one thing I was good at and two I was not:

LITERATURE! (I was good at this one).

That summer I read books that would go on to be some of my favorites:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond - amazing book about prejudice, fear, friendship and loyalty.

To Kill a Mockingbird - enough said!

The second thing I specialized in was, wait for it....DRAMA!
Yikes! What had I gotten myself into?
I'd never been on stage before much less in a play! When too many people look at me, I start to shake!
It all turned out fine though and I got to be an African Princess and wear a headdress and have no lines....NICE!

The third thing I picked was....ADVERTISING! (This was a pretty advanced camp for 10 year olds, I now realize). I learned all about how to market products and understand audiences. My product was tinted lip gloss and I got to put together a fun skit for my campaign.
It was all fine and dandy until the very last day of day camp. A boy whose name I just can't remember asked for my phone number. Mind you, this had never happened before. My response?
Me: "Why?
Him: "So I can call you."
Me: "Why would you do that?"
Him: "To talk."
Me: "Oh. Well, okay, but you'll have to talk to my mother too."
He quickly lost interest in my phone number after that! So that's my camp experience! Has anyone had a "camp" romance they would want to share? How about books or movies about camp that you like? Leave a comment and you will be entered to win a copy of GODDESS BOOTCAMP!
Happy release week TLC!!!
Dona Sarkar-Mishra

Friday, June 12, 2009

Goddess Bootcamp Release Week continues!

I'm so excited about the release of Tera's latest book, GODDESS BOOTCAMP. I just know that copies are flying off shelves as I type this.

So as you more dedicated buzzlings already know, I messed up and wrote about my horrendous summer camp experience a few weeks ago. Oops! So I'm doing something a little different...

A few weeks ago I was watching the MTV Movie Awards. Of course, TWILIGHT swept up practically all the awards. No big surprise there. What was surprising was how many times Stephenie Meyer's name was mentioned. There are so many times when the writers get no recognition at all. So how uberly cool would it have been to hear celebrities say your name? But as great as Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are, there are probably a few people in the world who don't know who they are. How cool would it be to see one of the most famous faces in the world holding your book?

Yes, TLC, that's your new release. I thought I might have to ruffle a few of Donald's feathers to get it back!

What celebrity would you choose to acknowledge you on an awards show? Leave a comment to be qualified to win a copy of GODDESS BOOTCAMP.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hooray for Tera!!!

This week we’re celebrating the launch of buzz girl Tera Lynn Child’s Goddess Boot Camp. Each day we’ll give away a copy of the book – so be sure to comment after you read each post. Winners will be announced this weekend.

Ah, the glories of summer camp. I can only tell you that it was not the most fun experience for me. My parents often packed me (one of four kids) off to Camp Burton, which was only a ferry ride away from Seattle but might as well have been on another planet.

Some highlights for you:

Scene One: Our heroine, Heather, arrives – a scrawny sixth grader with major geeky clothes, headgear and horrific haircut by my grandmother’s beauty operator, Ruby. Immediately, the older campers (9th graders) in the cabin comment on hair style, clothes, lack of bust development, and say, “it’s good you wear eyeshadow because we’d never have known you were a girl.” Ugh. I want to hit them, but it’s church camp and I’m a lover, not fighter, so I just avoid them after that.

Cut to –

Scene Two: Couple of days later, after sitting next to me at campfire one time, an geeky boy named Jim thinks he is my boyfriend. He is short (sorry) has Coke bottle glasses and a haircut that resembles floppy ears of a Cocker Spaniel. I keep telling him, he is not my boyfriend. Jim thinks this is just me being playful. He follows me. Everywhere.

Scene Three: Jim and I “break up” in front of many, many people. It’s the only way I can get him to stop following me. More geeky hilarity ensues. You get the idea.

Anyway, I ended up writing a summer camp into my debut, Never Cry Werewolf, and that was a great way to dredge up those treasured memories.

Did a boy ever crush on you at summer camp? What did you do? Did it end better than my ill-fated romance at Camp Burton?



Never Cry Werewolf ~ Sept. 2009 HarperTeen
The Clearing ~ April 2010 HMH